God Speaks Today…Literally, Part One
Last Saturday, I felt completely overwhelmed. Technically, I shouldn’t have. It was Saturday morning, afterall. My laziest morning of the week, historically. But that day, I awoke with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt pressure. I felt stress. I felt confusion. About everything. My schedule, my children, my house, my marriage, my friends, my ministry. I’d been feeling this way for quite some time. It’d been building up, ever so slowy. Getting more intrusive and disruptive to my psyche with each passing day. As I brushed my teeth, got dressed and made the kids breakfast, I mulled and stewed, planned and plotted for the causes of and the solutions to this ambiguous stress.
Am I too busy? What can I cut from my schedule?
Maybe I should have the kids help out more around the house. Time for a chore chart.
Maybe I should hire a housekeeper. Who do I know who has a housekeeper she can recommend?
Maybe I should talk to Jon about his work schedule. If he was home more, I wouldn’t need a housekeeper.
Maybe I should have a sitter come over and help a little when Jon works late. Who can do that?
Maybe I just need to socialize with my friends a little more, get out of the house and have some adult conversation. If I saw my friends more often, I’d be more energized to tackle my responsibilities at home.
Maybe there isn’t anything wrong at all and I just need to go talk to my therapist and get some perspective. Oh no! What if this is the depression hitting again???
The longer I mulled, stewed, planned and plotted, the more overwhelmed I became. Until, literally, I was standing at my kitchen counter in tears. Just me, my coffee pot, a box of Cheerios and three very confused, but compassionate children.
To the deck I went, Bible and journal in hand for some time alone with God. And once seated, I collapsed into the arms of my Heavenly Father, where I poured out my heart to him–everything. As I scrolled out paragraph after paragraph in my journal, I felt a sense of release. God was there and He was ready to lift this vague, yet unbearable, burden from my shoulders. I sensed His presence and I knew He wanted to speak to me. I opened the Word and began reading in Luke:
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry… Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…” (Luke 4:1-2, 14)
God was drawing me into an extended 40-day fast. I knew it the moment I read the word “fast.” All the “This is God speaking to me” bells started going off. I was so tempted to flip open to a different chapter and start over. Maybe God could tell me something ELSE! Maybe He really meant to say “FEAST!”
It’s been a long time since I went on a fast. Mostly, because–well, I hate to fast. Who doesn’t? Given the choice between eating and hunger, I usually choose eating. Especially, when I’m cooking for four other people, several times a day. I pretty much live in my kitchen. It’s not like I can just go off into the desert somewhere, far away from food and people. Not that a desert would be more pleasant than my comfy home, but at least I wouldn’t be faced with the fridge and the pantry all day long. And my family wouldn’t have to deal with Hungry-Crabby Mom. I’m kind of mean when I fast.
Yes, fasting is one of my least favorite things to do, but every time I do, I reap spiritual benefits that far exceed my expectations. The intimacy with God. The clarity of His voice. The spiritual direction and insight. The power of the Spirit. Just…wow.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I’m now on a fast and I thought it would be cool to invite you along with me. Not on the fast, necessarily, but on the journey to the intimacy, the clarity and the power. I’ve never been a blogger who cares to work out her issues on the internet. It makes me a little uncomfortable when people do that, quite honestly. Too much information. Most of the transparency you see on God Speaks Today is in the past tense. I’ve already worked through it and I’m telling you about it way after the fact.
But since the blog is called, “God Speaks TODAY,” I thought maybe, just maybe, I could blog every few days on what God is speaking to me today. Like in real time. As the fast unfolds and the Lord speaks, thought I’d post what He’s saying to me that day. I want you to see what this “hearing God” thing looks like in real life. And maybe in the process, you’ll be inspired to draw closer to Him and listen, too.
So through the end of September, as I fast and pray, you will be privy to some of the conversations I have with God along the way. We’ll still continue our series Freedom to Hear God, too.
I think this addition will only enhance that series. Because what’s more liberating than de-cluttering your mind..and your plate (literally, your plate)…to hear God’s voice?
If you care to join me on the fast, I welcome the company. When I fast longer than one or two days, I do a partial fast. That means I do eat, but I cut out many of my favorite foods. During this fast, I’m cutting out dairy, grains, coffee and sweets. I will also cut out meat, not because it’s a favorite of mine, but just because.
I do eat the following foods: fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, water, tea. Some meals I do skip altogether, but it depends on if I can spend that time in prayer or not. There’s no Biblical precedent for these particular foods. I just pretty much cut out anything decadent (for me), and eat enough nutrients so that I can still work out and not lose muscle.
Please do not feel pressure to join in the fast or to do the fast just like me. Maybe you just want to commit a regular time to pray each day for the next 40 days. Maybe you want to give up sweets or coffee. Maybe you want to spend the time you’d usually take watching TV or playing on Facebook and pray instead. Or maybe you’re just curious what God will say to me, so you are happy to simply read along. Perfect.
No matter what, I would love to know your thoughts and experiences with fasting. Leave a comment and tell me about it.
For Part Two, Click here
My dearest Sandy…You do not know me and that is fine but I have been reading along in your Freedom Study, which I've loved and I did suggest some ideas for your title…but as I read your break down…piece by piece, I was overly concerned for you! I suppose I should have checked for your email & have written this personally to you…so you can just delete, if you'd like.
I stayed with this all the way through the end. I love your heart & your healthy "fast" plan. However since you mentioned many things as if you were headed into a depression, my concern for you not eating increased! I trust that you heard from God. Can't argue with the scripture that you opened to and heard clearly "fast". Since you asked "What if this is the depression hitting again???" I'm not a qualified mental health personnel, just know that when one is in a depression, that sleep & eating patterns are affected & the transmitters aren't working as well. So…did you see a therapist?
I ask this with love not judgement of any kind.
I am honored that you would allow us to see your transparent side as "God speaks" & be privy to the conversations! I know you hear from God! Are you sure it wasn't "feast"? I will gladly join in prayer for the next 40 days and I pretty much "fast" already…except my DP and I just can't willingly go without 1 a day…we'll see! But for today or tonight or this week, I will pray for YOU! A covering for you, for this decision…I sent this prayer to someone else today and perhaps it was meant for you!
(it may not fit since I wrote so much…sorry 🙁
Direct SANDY'S Steps
Lord, You are the God of all knowledge, the One who knows the end from the beginning, You are the Alpha and Omega.
Lord of promise, I thank You for Your instructions on how we should live. I present Sandy before You Lord, and I ask that You would direct her steps today to walk in Your ways, so that You can bless her in the place where she serves.
At each turn and each decision today Holy Spirit, I ask that You would speak, and give her ears to hear, that she may keep Your commands and do what is pleasing in Your sight.
Shout Your warnings Lord, keep her on the straight path, and pluck her feet out of the net, keep her from evil Lord, so that You may bless her. I pray in Jesus name and for His glory, amen
Go girl…I'll be with you and anxiously waiting for updates on anything you learn or hear from God.
On one particular occasion I joined a group at our church for a three day fast which we ended on Saturday morning with prayer and communion in the Sanctuary.
I had to run an errand at the Mall on my way home and entered thru my favorite dept. store. There were huge red signs everywhere: "SALE!" My favorite! However, as I walked around the store (still had not eaten), I found that I didn't want to buy anything – and I'm a bargain predator!
The Lord spoke to me so clearly that He would satisfy me and I realized that I was totally content! Ps 23:1 came to mind and I understood what David meant when, upon declaring that the Lord was his shepherd, said "I shall not want." There are many promises in the Word about how God wants us to be satisfied, full, abundant, etc. I find that fasting helps get ME out of the way so I can enjoy HIS provision.
Dear Sweet Peggy,
Wow. Thank you so much for your concern and your prayers. If someone would have said that to me any time in the last 8 years, it would have definitetly caused me to seek some help and saved my brain and my heart a lot of heart ache.
You are 100% correct about depression being so closely linked to eating and sleeping. The slightest change can trigger an episode.
I am on "high alert" with the depression thing. I can see the signs coming, and they do look a lot like what I described. That is why I took it right to God. I am more than willing to seek help when I need it, and I will if I do. But God said "fast." And maybe it's "fast and then get help." And I will do that if I need to.
The great news is that once I started the fast, I felt something lift off of me almost immediately. The last few days have been fabulous. And God is showing me that I'm way too busy (which will be a later blog post) and I'm cutting some things off my schedule. He's also leading me into some specific prayers for my family and stirring up a deep hunger for the Word. And that's just the first week!!!
Please continue to lift me up. I love that. There's nothing more powerful to me than knowing people to whom this blog ministers are praying for me.
God bless you abundantly…and thank you again!!
p.s. I promise to go to my therapist if I need to.
Wow, totally challenged. Not great at the fasting thing. I am pregnant right now so I wouldn't feel comfortable fasting from food, but I'm going to pray about if there is something else I need to fast from..I'll let you know. I definitely feel like this could be a great challenge in my walk right now.
Hey Sandy! Good for you! I made a link to you today on my blog. I immediately thought of coffee for myself. But I don't know if I or my family am ready to deal with me caffeine free!
Bless you Sandy…I'm so glad! I will sleep much better! And so thankful! God already answered some of my prayer :0)
The best answer I could get came direct from YOU! I'm just so delighted that your attitude & acceptance of my comment was so gracious & warm…(if you recall, I'm in your reformed People Pleaser addict group). No seriously, I wish I would have been that someone in the last 8 years and it's so good to know that you are totally aware!
I was pretty sure that you were but someone has to check! I am so humbled & this is a great challenge especially for prayer. It is my honor to focus on holding up your arms "Abraham" until you enter the Promised Land (or was that Moses with the two holding up each arm, maybe Job, could be Joshua…Be strong & courageous!) I'm so looking forward to read ALL God does and you are off to a fantastic start! (More answered prayer)!
Anytime, along this journey if you need specific prayer, I hope you will note it in your blog. Anything that you want others to stand in agreement. Sorry if I alarmed you or called out the red flags 🙁
You are a precious sister in the Lord! I count this JOY & a privilege as I follow you! (really took a chance there, didn't I?) I'm
just relieved to know you are BLESSED & not stressed! I already know you are "fit" & working on it!
So exercise is another good thing if you were depressed. It's so nice to see you enjoy your FREEDOM in Christ! May God's abundant blessings flow as many join you in this 40 days! I'm holding you to your word!
Love in Christ & so very grateful,
p.s. I'm praying & believing for GREAT things HE has for you!(& me)
pp.ss. I added a SONG/PRAYER for you where you left your sweet words to me
tonight! It could be for anyone but wanted you to know I thought of it & added it while praying for you. May you be blessed!
Sandy, God spoke to my heart today, through you. I have read your blog off and on for a while now and I have really enjoyed it and found some wonderful things that have helped me. Lately I have been struggling, it seems like in every area. The hardest part is my husband and I have met some big spiritual bumps that we are working through and trying to figure out. Although we have been praying, I still have felt like I need direction, and I feel like I have it now. I am joining you, and dedicating MY next 40 days to the Lord and his direction for my family. Thank you sweet sister that I have never met!
I felt God call me to fast as well, once I got home from She Speaks. I have 13 days left in my 40. It has been HARD (and I haven't fasted nearly the way you are), but it has been so GOOD. God is working in major ways in my life and in my family.
Praying for you as you seek HIM.
I went through a fast this summer. The clarity and the intimacy with the Father is amazing. I'm praying for you that you see and hear all He has for you. I can't wait to read all about it!